Leading certifiers publish draft of harmonized natural and organic standard

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic certification Standardization Germany

The leading natural and organic certification bodies in Europe have published a harmonized standard that promises to break down trade barriers.

Six years of discussion have culminated in the release of the document which is now open for public consultation until January.

The details of the proposed standard can be viewed by clicking on the link below.


The Cosmos-standard was drawn up by Bioforum, Cosmebio, Ecocert, BDIH, ICEA and Soil Association, who together represent more than 1,000 companies and over 11,000 certified products.

Facilitating trade

Organic Monitor director Amarjit Sahota told CosmeticsDesign.com that the harmonized standard would facilitate trade and should be hailed as a ‘great step forward’.

Trade is currently hindered by the need for companies to recertify in different countries because of the fragmented and nationalistic nature of the certification system.

For example, the UK-based Soil Association and BDIH from Germany dominate domestically but have little presence oversees so companies looking to capture the branding benefits of certification in both countries will have to adopt both standards.

Once the Cosmos-standard is fully launched companies will feel under less pressure to go through this resource draining process but doubts still remain.

Long overdue

Sahota said: “The standard is long overdue and would have had a significantly greater impact a year ago.”

The slow progress made in harmonization talks bred frustration and led lobby group Natrue to break away and bring out its own standard this summer.

With the support of some of the largest natural cosmetics firms in Germany, including Weleda and Dr. Hauschka, the Natrue seal stands in the way of a truly unified European natural and organic standard.

Furthermore the potential of the new Cosmos-standard to break down trade barriers is weakened by the clause that the participating certifiers will still have the right to keep their own standards. The incentive to recertify in different countries therefore remains, according to industry sources.

The European certification bodies will certainly not be eager to drop their own standards and the brand following they have built up. It even remains to be seen whether the new standard will be accompanied by a common logo.

CosmeticsDesign.com will be covering more reaction to the new standard next week with particular emphasis on its content and requirments.

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